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Guest Post, By Kyle Minor: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

“They came like a caravan of carnival folk up through the swales of broomstraw and across the hill in the morning sun, the truck rocking and pitching in the ruts and the musicians on chairs in the truckbed teetering and turning their instruments, the fat man with guitar grinning and gesturing to others in a car behind and bending to give a note to the fiddler who turned a fiddlepeg and listened with a wrinkled face.” – Cormac McCarthy, Child of God

We get all high and mighty with our polysyllabic Latin thises and thats, and our elegance of concision, and our pretensions to taste and sophistication, and we forget that our language is built on a Germanic chassis, and have you ever read any of the German masters whose sentences go on and on and on in a flurry of dependent and independent clauses which make hash of the idea that thoughts or sensory impressions can be contained within the jail of the simple subject verb object, because by god the world is full of the taste touch smell sound sight of everything, and to that we attach all our memories and all our experiences and all our prejudices and predilections and peccadillos, and isn’t it better if we arrange them so that the like sounds align, our caravans and our carnivals, and our truckbeds and teeterings and turnings, and our fiddler turning a fiddlepeg?, and shouldn’t literature aspire not only to descriptive beauty but also to beautiful descriptive language?

Kyle Minor is the author of In the Devil’s Territory.

4 thoughts on “Guest Post, By Kyle Minor: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

  1. Thanks Kyle. This is the 1st sentence of the book, no?

    For all of eternity this book will be intertwined with Joni Mitchell’s song Woodstock because of her first line (as well), ‘I came upon a child of God…’

  2. Kyle,

    I particularly dig how you frame this to be about tuning our language to the world sonically while the description is of a sort of tuning, or at least one instrument is being tuned while the rest are going on as if they always have, so tuning amidst the turning, amidst the din, even better.

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